Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Mother Sauces: Béchamel/Mornay, Orecchiette

This is the first in a series on the five mother sauces in French cuisine.  Without delving into a long history lesson, the five mother sauces as we know them today were defined by Auguste Escoffier in the early 1900s.  Escoffier, commonly regarded as the father of modern French cuisine, did a lot of work toward organizing, standardizing, and simplifying the zillions of recipes and techniques of his day.  For more details, here's a great BBC article that outlines some of his contributions to modern cooking and dining.

Most french sauces can be seen as a derivation of one of the five mother sauces (hence the name); if you've ever eaten eggs benedict, mac and cheese, or biscuits and gravy, chances are you've already encountered a mother sauce or one of its derivatives!

In this post, we're going to make a mother sauce as well as one of its derivative sauces, and some food to go along with it.

Part I: Béchamel Sauce

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 cup milk
pinch of nutmeg (optional)
salt and white pepper, to taste